I’ve always felt a special kind of connection to the time of year between Passover and Shavuot, a Jewish period known as the Omer. (For Mayim Bialik’s Omer explanation, click here.) Here’s why. On Passover, the Jewish people go from being slaves to being free. Now, imagine that freedom. Your whole life, all you’ve ever known is following someone else’s arbitrary rules. And suddenly–no rules. No nothing, for that matter. The freedom must have been intense…and frightening.
But then, 49 days later, after wandering the desert, God gives the Jewish people the Torah, and with it, rules. In some way, those rules must have been a huge sigh of relief. No more crazy anarchy (golden calf, anyone?), no more feeling confused about how to build a society–God gave us everything we needed in the Torah. It’s nice to have a sense of structure to your life.
Somehow, this in-between period–this time of intense freedom without rules–always comes for me at an in-between period in my life. Starting in college when the Omer fell during finals, and up through today, I always identified with this liminal space, this place of in-between-ness… a time of waiting. My husband and I got married just a few days after Shavuot. My first baby was born a few weeks after Shavuot.
And this year, once again, I’m waiting for baby #2 to be born. Waiting for a baby is a funny experience. You’re given a due date, which is based on a series of things (some of which I think are quite arbitrary) and often doesn’t correlate at all to when you will actually have your baby. But this date sticks in your mind, and becomes such a focus. People ask me when I’m due and I tell them I have three weeks left, or two weeks left. When really, I could have five weeks left. Or five days left. There’s NO WAY TO KNOW.
And that not-knowing, well, that’s what makes you a little bit crazy. It’s like those ancient Israelites. They’ve got freedom, but they don’t know how to use it. I wouldn’t call having a baby’s foot lodged in my ribs freedom, per se, but I too am in this in-between space and time…waiting, just waiting, for the baby to decide to arrive.
And this year, Shavuot is on our wedding anniversary. I kind of think that means the baby will show up that day. Any bets?